The holidays are a wonderful time of year. Families gather together, friends exchange gifts, and businesses send out their holiday email campaigns. It's also a time when people are bombarded with marketing messages from every direction.

It’s easy for your emails to get lost in your customers’ inbox. With so many companies vying for attention this season, it can be challenging to find ways to make your business stand out in the slurry of emails. After all, what can you say that will make your message stand out from the rest?

Automated email marketing is the perfect tool for a successful holiday marketing campaign. By using email automation, you can send out timely, relevant, and personalized messages that will grab your subscribers' attention and convert them into customers. Automation takes the guesswork out of email marketing, and it's an effective way to reach your target audience with little effort on your part.

Here are ten marketing automation strategies and ways that brands are using them in their email marketing campaigns.

1. Segment your customers to send targeted messages

Think about what each group of customers would be most interested in and send them personalized messages accordingly. Automation allows you to segment your list by purchase history, location, or even past interactions with your brand.

Sephora's annual Holiday Savings Event is a great example of segmenting your subscriber list. Sephora provides shoppers with exclusive access to their holiday sale events and customers who have signed up to their Beauty Insider rewards program.

Sephora segments their customers into two groups: Insiders, and non-Insiders. They strategically offer discounts to existing subscribers, while encouraging non-Insiders to sign up to gain access to current and future sales.

With automation, you can segment your email list based on who your customer is and how they interact with your brand, making it easier to send the right messages to your customer.

2. Timing is everything

One of the benefits of automated email marketing is that you can time your messages so they are delivered when your customers are most likely to be engaged.

Hubspot reports that emails receive the most engagement during the hours of 9AM-12PM. Automation allows you to schedule your holiday emails to go out when customers are likely checking their inbox.

In weeks leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM), customers are curious about the kind of deals your business will offer. You can set up your email campaign to go out the week before with a preview of the deals that will be available. This way, your subscribers have time to plan their shopping and take advantage of your sale.

With Automizely, you can track when your subscribers are checking their inboxes to ensure that your emails are sent at an opportune time for your business.

3. Get personal with your automated emails

Personalized messages are more likely to be read and acted upon than generic messages. A study by Experian found that personalized emails can deliver 6x higher transaction rates.

You can personalize your automated emails by using the recipient's name in the subject line or body of the email, or sending a message on the recipient's birthday.

You can also thank your customer for their loyalty with an email like this one by DavidsTea. They use customer data based on shopping habits and interactions with their brand.

Tailored emails like this one are more likely to stand out in your customers’ inbox compared to those that aren’t. This DavidsTea email recognizes the customers who shop from them, creating a cheeky email showing their appreciation.

During the holidays, it’s easy for businesses to send out the same messages to their email list, but it yields lower returns compared to messages that are tailored to your customers’ interests.

With automation, you can be sure to catch your subscribers’ attention with personalized messaging.

4. Offer exclusive deals to encourage subscribers to shop with you

According to the National Retail Federation, 58% of holiday shoppers say that sales and discounts are the biggest factor in deciding where to shop. If you want to convert your subscribers into customers, you can offer them exclusive deals.

Rag & Bone gave their subscribers early access to their Black Friday sale with an exclusive 25% off store-wide coupon code.

By offering this discount to their email list, they were able to increase sales and also encourage subscribers to sign up for their loyalty program. With Automizely, you can get ahead of the influx Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails by easily creating and sending exclusive coupons to your subscribers.

5. Offer gift recommendations to make shopping easier

Emailing your customers gift guides is a great way to increase traffic to your website. Customers appreciate being able to quickly find gifts that they know their recipients will love. By sending customers a gift guide, you're showing that you care about them and their holiday shopping needs.

In this email, Apple shares a gift guide with recommendations from their product catalogue. They suggest the iPhone as a gift for someone who enjoys a photo opportunity, or a HomePod for someone who loves entertainment.

A gift guide can also be personalized to each subscribers’ interests proving that you know your customers. By taking advantage of Automizely's services, you can create successful holiday gift guides with little effort while increasing your site traffic and sales.

6. Stay top-of-mind by scheduling emails

We can all handle being busy, but holiday busy is on a whole other level. It's easy to get caught up with other tasks and forget to send out that promotional email or holiday newsletter to your customers.

Consider using automation to schedule your marketing campaign in advance. If you plan to host a sale during the holidays, you can schedule a preview email to go out beforehand so customers can look forward to shopping the offers when the day comes. You can also schedule emails during a holiday event to re-engage your customers and encourage them to participate in your holiday event. Starbucks does that successfully with their Starbucks For Life holiday event.

By scheduling your emails, you can sustain engagement with your customers while creating more time to focus on other areas of your business.

7. Send abandoned cart reminders

Cart abandonment rates increase significantly during the holiday season. On Black Friday and Cyber Monday, these rates are 77.79% and 80.69%, respectively.

While there are many reasons why people abandon their carts, one way to combat this is to send an automated email reminding them of the items they left behind. Nike automates these reminders by including a picture of the item and a link to complete the purchase.

Nike also suggests other products that the customer might like based on their previous interactions on their website. These reminders will draw your customers back to your website by personalizing their experience and encouraging them to complete their purchase.

Automating your abandoned cart reminders is a low-maintenance way to recover lost sales and improve conversion rates by encouraging potential customers to complete their purchase.

8. Create a sense of urgency for limited-time deals

The holidays are a busy time for everyone, so it's important to create a sense of urgency in your emails. Flash sales and limited-time offers rely heavily on a customer's fear of missing out, making them more inclined to purchasing your product ASAP.

Talbots uses automation to notify email subscribers about this online-only flash sale with a "Shop Now" button that brings the customer directly to the website. Automation works in this example because their subscribers are given access to the sale when it is beneficial for both the consumer and the business.

You can also create a sense of urgency by including countdown timers or highlighting the limited availability of your products. Automizely allows you to automate promotional emails by sending them to your customers’ inbox at a time that will drive the most traffic and sales.

9. Send post-purchase follow-ups to your customers

You won't know if a customer is satisfied with your products or services unless you ask. This is why post-purchase emails are important: they keep customers engaged about their purchase while providing valuable insights into customer satisfaction.You can also re-engage inactive subscribers with an automated reactivation campaign.

Gap does this by offering a limited-time discount while encouraging customers to update their email preferences.

When a customer hasn’t engaged or purchased from their business over a specific time, Gap sends out this email to do two things:

  1. Re-engage their customer with their products, and
  2. Encourage them to change their email preferences so they can send out more targeted messages

By automating your post-purchase follow-ups and reactivation campaigns, you can send messages that boost sales by bringing your customers back to your business.

10. Show your customers appreciation with a digital greeting card

As the holidays draw closer, sending your customers a greeting card is a great way to show appreciation for their business. Curate Labs sent out this greeting card with a personal message from their founders.

They sent out this greeting card to let subscribers know that they are thinking of them during the holidays. Automating your digital holiday greeting will be sure to catch your customers' attention for being genuine and thoughtful while keeping your company at top of mind for future shopping, and you can do this with Automizely.

Take advantage of automation this holiday

Your holiday marketing campaign is key to success this season. Automizely makes it easy to automate your email marketing so you can spend more time focusing on what's important this holiday season—your customers.

With our strong ability to segment customers, you can send targeted emails, reactivation campaigns, and personalized messages that will be sure to stand out in your customers’ inbox and boost sales this Christmas.

So, go ahead and take advantage of automation and start today with Automizely.